Leading by Listening: The Secret to SaaS Success

We’re proud to announce that GoToMyPC remains the market leader in remote access. According to IDC’s Worldwide Remote Access Services and Applications 2013-2017 Forecast and 2012 Vendor Share (doc #239865, March 2013) report that was released this week, “Citrix GoToMyPC retains its market-leading position for another year, with 72.9% of the total remote access services and applications market share.”

GoToMyPC has been a leader in the SaaS industry since 2001, and it’s been tremendously successful because we’re passionate about delivering a service that our customers love. It’s simple, reliable and secure. And it just works – it does exactly what it promises to do (and hopefully a bit more.) How do we do it? What’s the secret sauce? We listen, a lot.

In fact, we’re fanatical about listening to our customers. Everyone in the business is focused on customer conversion and retention. The first two emails read every morning, by everyone on our team, are customer feedback and our daily dashboard. It’s a great way to keep a pulse on how we are doing. But we go deeper than these daily checks.

We have an entire team dedicated to customer insights, and our product design team is constantly talking to customers and target prospects to get feedback on new features and designs. Our consistent research ensures our teams are always focused on the customer; it also allows us to start a dialogue with those customers who are at risk, and to identify our advocates and give them a voice.

Here are 10 ways that we listen to our customers:

  1. Sales & Support interactions – These people are talking to customers and prospects all day long. They are a gold mine of information. But how do you gather it? We use Salesforce to help aggregate information from calls. We track why we won or lost business and if certain trends start to develop, we can react quickly. We also use Podio to share customers’ stories and ideas.
  2. Social media – Your customers are talking about you on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Make sure you’re monitoring the conversation and that your social media team knows who to go to in your organizations to escalate potential issues, customer ideas, or general sediment. We hold quarterly reviews which look at not only how we’re performing, but also customer sentiment.  Online Customer support communities are also a great way to gather customer input. We use GetSatisfaction and it’s a great product for facilitating customer support, feedback and ideas.
  3. Annual Customer Survey – This is a good opportunity to slice and dice the different customer segments you may have, see how they are changing year over year and get critical feedback. With the annual survey you may have a standard set of questions, looking at demographics and attitudes, but there is usually some room for discovery as well. Just make sure you keep it to a reasonable length; no one wants survey fatigue. There are great online survey companies out there and this is something you can do for very little money that has great value.
  4. Inquiry Surveys – Throughout the year, you’ll need to dive in deeper to a particular idea. Don’t wait for the annual survey; but do keep it short and to the point. You can also segment a particular group of your customers for analysis. Perhaps you only want to find out something from the customers who use mobile apps, or those that came in through a certain trial flow. With short inquiry surveys you can do this.
  5. Net Promoter Score (NPS) – Do this monthly and you’ll have the pulse of your customer base. Your NPS can be an indicator of future retention rates. And it’s as simple as asking one question, “How likely is it that you would recommend [your company, product or service] to a friend or colleague?” Customers respond on a scale of 0-10, and you calculate it by taking the percentage of customers who are Promoters (9-10’s) and subtracting the percentage who are Detractors (0-6’s). We are extremely proud of GoToMyPC’s high NPS, consistently scoring near the top for our industry (Computer Software).
  6. Feedback requests at the end of a session – Give your customers an easy way to send you quick feedback right when they finish their session (warning: do not be obtrusive about this). It’s top of mind, very recent and with a quick 1-5 point rating and open text field, you can get immediate feedback on the product experience.
  7. Exit Surveys – Are you curious why people left your service? Ask them, and ask them right away – when they cancel service. Keep this survey very short and to the point. Was it the price, a feature, a technical issue, competition, or do they just not need it anymore? Retention is the lifeblood of a successful SaaS company and you need to know why people leave. This data will give you insights into what you need to test and fix.
  8. Customer visits / phone calls / meetings – Nothing replaces actually talking to a customer. We marketers live in a bubble of like-mindedness. We read analyst and industry reports, the latest news on competition. Day in and day out we live, breathe, eat this stuff. Guess what? Your customers don’t. Get out and talk to them in the real world. It’s important you discover your customers’ pain points, why they love your product, how they use it and what they see as the benefits.
  9. Usability studies – Did your team build a beautiful interface for your website or product? That’s great. But how do your customers and prospects react to it? Do they follow the expected behavior? Do they understand what the product can do? Test prototypes and take the time to watch people use your product. It’s amazing what you’ll learn.
  10. A day in the life – That’s right, spend an entire day with a customer, or a prospect. Understand what they really do and how they do it. What are their challenges? Can’t spend the whole day? Then spend a few hours and you will gain valuable insights as well. Another option is to conduct in-depth interviews (IDIs) to really probe into how your customers feel about certain topics and to understand the language they use. If you’re on a tight budget, or your customers are geographically spread out, use technology to conduct interviews. We use GoToMeeting with HDFaces for our virtual customer advisory boards.

No one of these is a “silver bullet” and this is by no means an exhaustive list of how you might collect customer feedback.  What are your best practices when it comes to customer feedback? How do you assimilate it into your company and the service you’re delivering?

 

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